The Five Tenets of Taekwondo
These five principles are the foundation for all training at Choe’s Martial Arts. While they are an important guide to how students should conduct themselves in training, they are principles for every part of life. When a martial arts student learns and practices these tenets in every aspect of life, that student is on his/her way to becoming a better person—and to becoming a true master not only of a technique but of him/herself.
1. Courtesy. When in class, students must show respect to their master, all senior ranks, and all other students. Outside of class, this tenet should influence how the student behaves towards parents, other adults, peers and acquaintances. When we practice courtesy, we are not only showing respect for others—we show respect for ourselves.
2. Integrity. This refers to doing what we know to be right. This starts by committing never to misuse Taekwondo by using the student’s skills to threaten, bully or hurt others. On a broader level, integrity requires the student to accept and adhere to high moral principles. When we practice integrity in daily life we are true to our values and do what we know is right, whether or not others are paying attention.
3. Perseverance. At the simplest level, this refers to being willing to do what it takes to reach one’s goal. Some techniques are hard to learn, and mistakes are a fact of life. The martial arts student will never gain a black belt, let alone become a master, without the willingness to keep trying his/her best even when he/she doesn’t feel like it. Carried into daily life, perseverance allows us to strive to do our best and face challenges without backing down.
4. Self-Control. The student must learn to be in control of his/her actions and not simply react to circumstances out of emotion. From the very beginning, students will need to practice lots of patience and discipline in order to learn and progress in their classes. As these become habits in class, they will eventually become habits in all areas of life, making it easier to follow through on reasoned choices rather than impulse.
5. Indomitable Spirit. Also called fighting spirit, this is an attitude of inner strength. The person with indomitable spirit is a winner regardless of the outcome of any particular match. He/she does not allow his/her spirit to be broken and refuses to give up trying. It is this spirit which allows the martial artist to not allow him/herself to be limited by fear or complacency, and gives the willingness to persevere. When we face life’s situations with indomitable spirit, we find that we have the strength we need to strive for victory.
I will respect the instructors and all senior ranks.
I will never misuse Taekwondo.
I will be a champion of freedom and justice.
I will build a more peaceful world.